Monday, November 26, 2012

Judiciary to assist ICC on Kenyan cases, says CJ Mutunga

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga (left) and ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda after a meeting at the Supreme Court Building in Nairobi on October 24, 2012. At the meeting were senior ICC and government officials. Photo/CORRESPONDENT

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga (left) and ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda after a meeting at the Supreme Court Building in Nairobi on October 24, 2012. Photo/CORRESPONDENT  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VALENTINE OBARA vobara@ke.nationmedia.com

An International Crimes Division (ICD) being set up in the High Court has nothing to do with the Kenyan cases at The Hague, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has said.

Dr Mutunga said on Monday the ICD was at an advanced stage.

He said Kenya was committed to cooperating with the International Criminal Court. “The ICC is not a foreign court. It is Kenyan as we ratified the Rome Statute,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua Sang are facing crimes against humanity charges at The Hague.

The ICD, with seven judges and an independent prosecutor, will be based in Nairobi although it will sit anywhere it is directed by the CJ.

JSC chairman Samuel Kobia said the division, which would prosecute cases that could not be handled by the ICC, will have a fully funded witness protection agency.

“We cannot talk about sovereignty if we cannot ensure justice for all. The division is not meant to take away the four cases from the ICC, there are thousands of cases that also need to be tried,” Rev Kobia said.

He said if the four Kenyans facing trial at the ICC requested their cases to be transferred to the ICD, proper legal procedures would have to be followed. Read (Bid to have ICC trials in Kenya denied)

Dr Mutunga and Rev Kobia were speaking at Strathmore University in Nairobi at a workshop for journalists on election and ICC coverage.

Attorney-General Githu Muigai told participants he would cooperate with the ICC and denied Kenya was withholding evidence on the cases.

He criticised the US for questioning Kenya’s commitment to the ICC despite it not being a signatory to the Rome Statute.

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